LEXINGTON, Ky. — Repeating his take that Kentucky fans are crazy during Big Blue Madness, Wildcats coach John Calipari also acknowledged their justification to go wild.
And as a group of Wildcats legends raised the school’s eighth national championship banner to the Rupp Arena rafters Friday night, so did fans’ enthusiasm.
Calipari marked the start of practice by recognizing the latest contribution to Kentucky’s proud tradition, hoping it motivates this year’s squad to continue it.
Kentucky’s latest recruits appeared ready to do that.
A capacity crowd was introduced to much-heralded big men Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley-Stein, forward Alex Poythress and guard Archie Goodwin. Transfers Julius Mays and Ryan Harrow also debuted.
Cauley-Stein’s White squad held off Noel’s Blue team 56-55 in the scrimmage.
NORTH CAROLINA: It wouldn’t have been “Late Night with Roy” without Roy Williams – and the Hall of Fame coach sure looked thrilled to be back.
The Tar Heels opened preseason practice Friday night with their annual evening of silliness and scrimmaging. For Williams, the event became extra special because of his recent cancer scare.
In his first public appearance on the Smith Center sideline since his scare, Williams received three distinct, extended standing ovations from the crowd. The coach repeatedly waved in appreciation, then attempted to deflect the attention toward his players.
CONNECTICUT: The Huskies can’t play for a national title this season, but they still want to put on a show.
They got their first chance Friday night in the program’s annual First Night, the unofficial kickoff to the practice season, which featured the traditional slam dunk contest, a 3-point shooting competition, music, dancing and pyrotechnics.